Josh Notes lived up to his leadership role as a senior captain for the Oakland Mills wrestling team Wednesday against Atholton.
Notes, who missed last season with a shoulder injury, was moved from 145 to 160 because the Scorpions were missing three starters. And he was wrestling the final match of the day with his team trailing by four points.
Notes had to rally from a 4-0 deficit 30 seconds into his 160-pound bout to pin Melvin White in the third period and give the Scorpions a 30-28 victory.
"Some guys step up under pressure and some don't," said Scorpions coach Brad Howell. "Josh did. He got caught in a headlock early, and later on got a headlock of his own and put White on his back."
In the past, a 160-pounder would not have had a chance to win the match for his team. That always fell to the heavyweight. But under a new system of drawing for the sequence of events, Notes got his shot.
"It was a big uplift for us," said Howell, whose young team is struggling for victories.
The Scorpions are 4-4 overall with wins over Long Reach, Liberty, Centennial and Atholton, and losses to Laurel, Mount Hebron, River Hill and Lackey.
"We are a pretty young team, but we do have a couple of hammers in Jeff Plasse (119) and Neal Nakagama (125), both of whom are 13-2," Howell said. "Atholton is similar to us, and Bruce [Lind- blad] has done a good job with his young team."
Oakland Mills' boys basketball team has a history of starting slowly and then picking up steam. The Scorpions entered last season's playoffs with a losing record and made it to the state finals before losing.
This year is no different. The Scorps are 4-5 overall and 3-2 in the league entering tonight's cross-town rivalry with Wilde Lake.
Lack of practice time has hurt. Two key players, Greg Braukus and Justin Barnes, didn't end their football season until Dec. 1.
A 13-day stretch with seven games also eliminated practice possibilities.
"I don't think we've had five practices with everyone there," said coach Dave Appleby.
Things should improve in January. "We have only six games scheduled and 15 practices," Appleby said.
Girls in a race
The Howard County girls basketball race gets an early post-holiday kick start today, as three of the league's top teams go on the road for important contests.
No. 5 River Hill (5-4) and No. 15 Centennial (6-3) should provide the most compelling match-up tonight at 7 as the Hawks travel to face the Eagles.
River Hill's young squad has been up and down early on, recently finishing fourth at the IAABO Tournament. The Hawks played well despite losing consecutive games after beating Riverdale Baptist, 43-41, in the opener. Laura Hostetler has been River Hill's top threat on offense, scoring 16 points in the win. With two of the league's better players in Jasmine Hammond and Lisa Richardson, Centennial has been impressive as well.
In other action, No. 4 Glenelg (9-0) will try to remain unbeaten as the Gladiators go on the road to face Hammond (6-3) at 7. Glenelg continues to pound its opponents with its pressing defense, but could get a test from experienced Hammond point guard Tara Zammichieli. Gladiators Alli Biggs and Chrissy Starcher combined for 24 points in a 71-38 win over Carver at the Woodlawn Tournament, while Hammond captured the Annapolis Tournament title with a 77-60 win.
No. 6 Mount Hebron (7-2) hopes to avoid an upset as the Vikings travel to face Atholton at 7. All-Metro Vikings forward Kristin Waagbo has had her way with league defenses this year, averaging 21 points in five league games, including a 34-point effort in a win over Hammond.